Why are Well Child visits important?
First off, your teen is going through many changes at this time - physical changes like puberty as well as emotional, cognitive and social changes that can have a lasting impact on their lives. Did you know that almost 1 in 4 adolescents will engage in at least one risky behavior such as drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, unprotected sex, poor eating habits and drugs during this time? In addition, the lifestyle choices made during this period play an important role in determining their risk for developing chronic disease during adulthood. In other words, the habits made now may last a lifetime.
We recommend annual well child visits for all children 12-17 years of age. While well child visits for younger children focus on physical development, age-appropriate milestones and vaccinations - the adolescent well visits begin to focus on social and academic competence, sexual development and identity, emotional and cognitive health screenings, and violence and injury prevention.
Isn't a Sports Physical the same as a Well Child Visit?
Nope. Sports physicals are not the same as a well child visit. The sports physical is like the tip of a iceberg - it is designed to simply clear your child to play a sport. Sports physicals do not include an evaluation of your child's development, immunization history, current concerns, risk factors, emotional well-being and advice for developing a healthy lifestyle. However, the well child visit looks at the entire iceberg - both the parts seen above and below the waterline. During adolescent well child visits our staff will have you fill out the required sports physical paperwork – so there is no need for two separate appointments.
Well Child visits may save you money
While it may seem easier just to obtain a sports physical, consider this: many insurance companies will pay for annual well child visits whereas sports physicals most likely will require out of pocket expenses (please check the details of your personal insurance plan). Woodcreek Pediatrics - Mary Bridge Children's highly recommends scheduling you child an annual well visit rather than simply stopping in for a sports physical.
Communication is key
At Woodcreek Pediatrics - Mary Bridge Children's we are your partner in the development and health of your teenager. We feel that first and foremost, communication between youth, families and their pediatrician are essential to ensure effective and high-quality care.
The adolescent well child visit introduces some key changes to how your pediatrician will communicate with you and your child. Our goal is to ensure your child can discuss sensitive topics such as gender identity or risky behaviors in a safe and comfortable environment. This may lead to the provider asking permission to explore some of these topics with (or without) the parent in the room. By promoting open and honest communication early, we find youth are more likely to seek assistance from adults and professionals as their life becomes more complicated in later years. The trust we help establish now sets the foundations for a lifetime.
To schedule a well child appointment, please contact our office at 253-848-8797 option 2, or login to the YourAccess patient portal and send us a secure message.